Improving the 'work readiness' of undergraduate psychology students through a final-year volunteer placement

O'Connor, Erin L., Hansen, Julie A., & White, Katherine M. (2008) Improving the 'work readiness' of undergraduate psychology students through a final-year volunteer placement. In Effective Teaching and Learning Conference, 30-31 October 2008, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)


Psychology Baccalaureates often report difficulty describing their skills and knowledge to potential employers. Although they are not eligible for registration as Psychologists, they graduate with a valuable set of skills and knowledge which may be applied to in a wide range of positions in the government, health, education, and private sectors (Australian Psychological Society, 2008; Pooley & Cohen, 2007; Borden & Rajecki, 2000). To clarify students’ awareness of their graduate competencies, strengthen the students’ connections with the profession, and to provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that the psychological curriculum provides, a volunteer placement unit was designed. This unit was offered as an elective for final-year undergraduate students. The placements were not driven by accreditation requirements, but were opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of roles and industries. The placements focused on student development through a combination of experiential and observational learning. Students (N = 23), in collaboration with the placement supervisors and a university staff member, were responsible for the design of the placement and developed their own learning plan and criterion-referenced assessment for this aspect of the course. Students also completed a mini-conference or ‘trade show’ and reflective essay at the end of the volunteer work-placement. This presentation will report the initial findings of an on-going multi-method evaluation which has been designed to determine how well the unit objectives were met, the utility of the unit content as a professional development intervention, and how different motivations to engage in volunteering may influence the outcomes of the unit.

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ID Code: 15582
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the conference's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: work intergrated learning, service learning, professional development, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 08:38

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